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Community Ecology$
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Gary G. Mittelbach and Brian J. McGill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835851

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835851.001.0001

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The fundamentals of competitive interactions

The fundamentals of competitive interactions

(p.118) Chapter 7 The fundamentals of competitive interactions
Community Ecology

Gary G. Mittelbach

Brian J. McGill

Oxford University Press

Interspecific competition is a major factor influencing the structure of communities. This chapter examines the principles of interspecific completion, defined as a reduction in the population growth rate of one species due to presence of one (or more) other species due to their shared use of limiting resources or active interference. The chapter begins with a presentation of the classic Lotka–Volterra competition model, but quickly moves on to more recent consumer–resource competition models. Conditions leading to competitive exclusion and species coexistence are discussed, as are empirical tests of the predictions of resource competition theory. In general, coexistence requires that each species has a greater negative effect on its own population growth rate than on the population growth rate of another species. Shared predation also can result in species having negative effects on each other’s population growth rate, a condition known as “apparent competition”.

Keywords:   apparent competition, competitive exclusion, consumer–resource competition model, Lotka–Volterra competition model, R*, species coexistence

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